Just a few days back, we wrote an article on how Apple is planning to switch to OLED display panels for new iPhone models coming in 2017. Now, a recent report by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will be ditching the aluminum body casing in favor of an all-glass enclosure for its new line of iPhone models being produced in 2017. If this rumor is to be taken for granted, there are chances that we might not see a major redesign of the upcoming iPhone 7 (maybe 6SE) which is expected to be launched this September.

The main reason behind such a move, as explained and predicted by Kuo, is due to competition. Since many smartphone manufacturers have adopted an aluminum enclosure, Apple might be taking a different approach to differentiate itself from others, therefore ditching the aluminum body casing and going for an iPhone 4-styled design of glass back panel or an “all-glass enclosure”.

“If iPhone 7 still uses an aluminum casing in 2016, it will be the fifth year in a row that iPhone has done so, which means there is no longer a feeling of freshness to appeal to consumers. Also, a lot of Apple’s (US) competitors are also adopting aluminum casings, which means iPhone no longer has a clear edge due to a lack of differentiation. On expectations that iPhone shipments will decline in 2016, we believe Apple will be more strongly motivated to use non-aluminum casings in 2017 in a bid to enhance the competitiveness of iPhone by offering an all-new form-factor design.”

This is followed by the sluggish sales of iPhone 6s and the signal made by Apple to suppliers to maintain reduced production of iPhones throughout the next quarter.

Really, Glass casing?

Some investors have criticized Kuo’s prediction that the glass casing will be too heavy or might easily crack if dropped. However, Kuo believes that glass casing will not be problematic for Apple since iPhone 4 and 4S had a pretty good sales despite receiving reports of cracked glass on front display or back panel. On the other hand, using glass casing might make it slightly heavier than aluminum but given the fact that Apple is planning to switch to OLED display panels, which is much thinner and lighter than LCDs, it can compensate for such weight differences. Additionally, the battery could be made smaller since OLED displays do not have backlights, therefore reducing the power consumption.

The analyst has mentioned that the ratio of aluminum casing for new iPhones will most likely drop from 100% to 40% or less, indicating that some models specially the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s will still be using the aluminium casing.

Kuo believes that switching back to glass enclosure for 2017 iPhones will provide a “feeling of freshness” to customers and allow Apple to differentiate itself from other competitors in the market.

Most of the recent reports are related to 2017 iPhone model, which gives us a sense that the new flagship device to be released this September might not come with much improvement in terms of design and display and that Apple might be saving all the excitements for 2017.  This is bit strange as Apple usually follows the “kaizen” strategy, where they release a redesigned iPhone (iPhone 4,5,6) every year followed by slight tweaks and internal development in their “s” models (iPhone 4s, 5s, 6s)

If these rumours hold true, do you like the idea of Apple switching to glass enclosures? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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